Last weekend, after dropping off another ski team member at his home in the Willamette area of West Linn, we began heading towards our home in the other section of the city.
My husband was driving and he missed our usual turn off.
I almost said something to him, but decided to just let him drive, as I know that sometimes he likes to vary our route home.
But then, he missed another turn and I thought, Okay, what is going on here? Where besides home is he going, I wondered?
Until, I realized he was going home after all.
To our NEW house.
Okay, wild and weird and crazy.
At that moment, I said to my husband smiling: “I was about to tell you that you are going the wrong direction home, but then I realized you are going the right direction home.”
He nodded in agreement: “I have done the same thing a couple of times, starting to drive toward our View Drive home.”
My son nodded a knowing grin as well.
It has been wild for us all.
After 29 years in the only house we have ever purchased, and the only home that my kids have ever lived in, the home we brought each of our five kids home to, we bought a new house, and moved a couple of weeks ago.
October 1, 2018 was the day we officially got our keys from our realtor Patrick James, and signed our life away, which is what it felt like.
This is huge, as my writer friend Jody said to me in her phone call after she saw my social media post about our new house.
I’ll be honest; it took me a while to post something on social media about our house purchase because when you publish something for the world to see, it somehow makes it really real. Yeah, it’s social media real. Or as some call it, “It’s Facebook official.”
Home, house, where you live, where you hang your hat and your heart, where you raise your family, your place of belonging, the space where you make your home.
About half way through the day of our “official” move, I walked into my bedroom of our View Drive house, and I sobbed.
I think it all just hit me at once. Our house was filled with a few friends and family who were there helping us move the majority of our boxes and furniture, and I had been fine staying busy directing folks and offering coffee and donuts and snapping photos; but then, at the moment just before we were about to take the first U-Haul truck load over to the new house on Riverlane Road, all the emotion of it all hit me. It was like I finally allowed myself to feel.
Before that, it felt surreal and I hadn’t taken the time to think about the meaning behind of this.
What was I doing? What were we doing? Moving after residing 29 years in the same house, our only house we have ever purchased up until now, the very home that I brought all five of my babies home to, the only home my kids have ever known. We were moving away from what was familiar and comfortable and safe, the place where we had made hundreds of memories, of large and small events, of milestones and daily ordinary days. We were moving away from Wendy and Bill and Shelley and Midori and Janet and Dave and Ann and Kristin.
I wondered at that moment of sobbing if our new Riverlane house would ever feel like home like our View Drive one did. So many people, including my kids’ friends, have told us over the years that our View Drive home feels so cozy and warm and welcoming and inviting. Would the Riverlane one ever feel that way?
And, I reflected back to September when my twins had come over to look at the Riverlane house before the sale was final; we wanted their feedback and thoughts on the house. This moving is a huge deal in all of our lives. Our youngest son, who is the only one still living at home full time, liked the new house, and we wanted our twins’ thoughts as well.
As my twins walked through the home and yard, they were nodding their head and I was trying to read them, and one of the twins seemed like he liked it while the other one seemed more reserved.
And then the more reserved twin said words that cut me to the heart:
“I don’t know, it doesn’t feely very cozy, it doesn’t feel homey, like some of the other houses you have looked at.”
Those words cut to the core and I thought I was going to cry right then and there.
Home. Making our home homey and cozy is something that I truly value as the mother of five children, creating a place that is safe and comfortable and cozy and warm, so when my son said these words about our almost-home-to-be, I was troubled inside.
I don’t think I truly realized how important and big this was to our kids up until that point, and I wanted them to know that I truly cared.
This was a huge deal for for us all.
I had worked for 29 years to make our other home on View Drive homey and cozy and inviting and welcoming physically with paint colors and indirect lighting and new windows and comfy furniture and pictures on the walls, and all of a sudden we were packing it all up and leaving.
But I think what my son was saying went deeper than just the physical, though I do believe there’s something to creating an inviting and homey and loving physical space; and yet, the coziness is also representative of what was familiar; our home was where we had created so many memories; it was where we hosted Easter egg hunts for the neighbors and friends, where we celebrated Christmases and hosted barbeques and birthdays and movie nights and gatherings; it was where life happened, where we tried to make the overarching umbrella of love reside while we lived our family’s story for years. And, it was where we were and where we hope and pray love was. So with our new space I was pondering all of these thoughts and my kids’ thoughts and the thoughts of friends and family, and in the end, through a series of back and forth waiting and negotiating and inspections and bidding, we ended up purchasing the house on Riverlane Road and were fixing it up to make it move-in-ready while still moving things over from our View Drive house.
So, what was move-in ready for our new house? Making it a home. The words of my son regarding having a cozy house were stamped onto my heart with every decision and wall color and floor choice.
My son’s words and sentiment made me realize that kids do care, that the home they grow up in and are raised in and have their memories in matters.
So, as we have labored the last three and a half months, tearing down walls and adding windows and changing the floors and altering every wall color, I have thought through my vision to make my house a warm and inviting home.
No, I cannot change the fact that this is not the home that my kids came home to when they were born and they didn’t grow up here, but I can make it the home they want to come home to now as teens and young adults and as married adults kids with their own young families.
I can offer a place where they are always welcome, where they will be listened to and heard, where they always matter, where they can rest and find refuge and love and acceptance — a place of belonging, the place that is always home to them.
In the end, I realized that all the physical parts of making a home feel nice and cozy only matter if we are there and if love is there. HOME is where we are and it is the place where love is, because that is where their family is. Where their mom and dad are and where the love of God is felt through the people.
Home. Warmth. Cozy. Love. Life-giving. A place of Belonging.
Home. The place where my family will always find their way home to.
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Thank you Sharon for writing and relating your own personal story of moving after so many years. Our hearts and lives are so deeply entrenched in place. Thanks for reading.
I can sure relate to this writing we are moving from Newberg where we’ve lived 30 years to Woodburn senior estates. 3 bedroom to 2 bedroom. Cozy little home but not our home. I had a melt down and cried. It’s a shift, a loss, a sad before the glad comes. We can’t have a 2 story anymore. In 5 years we will be 70 a senior community is going to be ok. But the adjustment is hard. The financial gain is going to free us for other ministry. I send you a (hug). I know it’s hard.
Wow. What a multilayered and insightful article. I did not want my parents to move from my childhood home out to the country because of the MEMORIES just like the article conveyed. But the first time I visited from California, where I was living at the time, it didn’t take me 5 minutes to adjust. It was about the people who lived there. Or here😊